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Bishop Visitor's Center

“Then it seemed to me that the Sierra should be called, not the Nevada or Snowy Range, but the Range of Light. And after ten years of wandering and wondering in the heart of it, rejoicing in its glorious floods of light, the white beams of the morning streaming through the passes, the noonday radiance on the crystal rocks, the flush of the alpenglow, and the irised spray of countless waterfalls, it still seems above all others the Range of Light.” – John Muir, from The Yosemite

If there is any one season that stands out for its show of lights it must be the holiday season. Are you looking for a holiday experience that’s like a Christmas card sprung to life? Do want a picturesque winter setting with an old-fashioned, small-town atmosphere? Well, look no further than Bishop, California.

This characteristically western American town, situated in the heart of the Eastern Sierra, is charming and whimsical at any time of year. Christmastime brings added charm with festive holiday events that light up the town in celebration of the season of giving.

Set in a winter wonderland scene like no other in the country, where the broad expanse of the Owens Valley rises up to the snow-capped crests of the White & Inyo Mountains to the east and the Sierra Nevada to the west, Bishop is especially picture postcard perfect during the holidays.

Hey Santa!

Night Parade & Fun Run

The place and time to start your countdown to Christmas is downtown Bishop at on the first Saturday in December at 4pm!

The Night Parade gets underway at 4:30pm at High Country Lumber and rolls on down Main Street to Bishop City Park. It’s a short distance of 0.6 miles that’s lined with townsfolk who’ve come to cheer on the community members who’ve entered sparkling parade floats in this festive annual tradition.

Pick your spot along Main Street to watch the brightly decorated trucks, cars, fire engines, motorcycles, horse- and mule-drawn carriages, marching bands, folks on foot in festive costumes, and, of course, Santa – as they all wend their way to the Bishop City Park for the big tree lighting ceremony that follows. Even a few local Police, Sheriff and Highway Patrol vehicles join in the parade fun with flashing lights and raucous sirens. Santa should always have an escort like this!

The Annual Santa Run presented by Bishop Rotary starts at 4:15pm (15 minutes before the parade start) in front of the Bishop Visitor Center & Schat’s Bakkery. It’s a one-mile family fun run to raise funds and awareness for ‘End Polio Now’ – a Rotary International program. Run it. Walk it. Roll it. Give it your best shot during the season of giving. Entry fee is $10 and Bishop Rotary will provide hot chocolate and Christmas treats. Dress in your best imitation of a reindeer or elf or any Christmas character and win a prize!

Ready. Set. Go.

Insider Tip: Get ahead of the game by stopping in at the Bishop Visitor Center early in the day to get your free Street of Lights map – your passport to an evening full of fun and prizes. Keep reading to find out more!

Tree Lighting

As the tail end of the parade passes you by, head on over to the Bishop City Park for the official big tree lighting ceremony. The switch is flipped at 5:30pm to signal the start of Christmas present and herald the holidays for all. Music will fill the air and delectable treats like hot cocoa, coffee, cookies and candy will be available to tantalize your taste buds and sweeten the evening.

Insider Tip: Santa will be at the Bishop Visitor Center from 4:30 – 6pm to listen to the secrets and wishes of all the kiddies in the land.

Street of Lights warming fire

Street of Lights Merchant Night

As if all that weren’t enough, the night continues with lights, music, food and fun. Now take a leisurely stroll along the half-mile of downtown Main Street where the local merchants will be open late to participate in the Street of Lights. Stop at a warming fire along the way and join in the caroling. Pop into your favorite store or visit one that’s new to you and see what’s on offer on this special night.

Musical magic

Participating shops, restaurants, galleries and businesses will have great deals and a happy holiday atmosphere. Local musicians will perform at many of these venues and the sights, sounds, and smells of the yuletide will mingle with the frosty winter air.

Santa will be cruising the street too, getting his Christmas groove on, so keep a lookout for a fun photo op with the jolly holiday man.

 

Insider Tip: Remember to keep your Street of Lights map with you and stop in at as many of the participating businesses as you can to get it stamped. This is your ticket to enter the huge holiday raffle for a chance to win wonderful prizes and the grand prize of $500 cash.

Christmas Train

Railroad Express

On Saturday, December 9th take a magical train ride on the Railroad Express. Visit the Laws Railroad Museum and Historic Site, just 6 miles north of Bishop and ride the rails into Christmases past.

Laws Railroad Museum and Historic Site celebrates the rich history of the Owens Valley railroad and tells of a time when this station was the heart of a once bustling western town. Do you believe in holiday magic and that wishes really do come true? Of course you do. Take a trip back in time on the Railroad Express.

It happens only once a year and it’s a day of family fun with Santa and Mrs. Claus for you (your inner kid) and all kids. Celebrate the season with caroling and story telling, crafts and refreshments, and a host of angels and elves onboard the restored Death Valley Railroad Car. Gates open at 10am with fantastical railway adventures going on until 4pm. Dress warmly it could be frosty.

Insider Tip: Get your Railroad Express admission tickets early at the Bishop Visitor Center and don’t miss out on your ‘Golden Ticket’ to a trip through seasons past. Read more about the Railroad Express here.

Wildflower Infinity Scarf by Wild Onion Creations

Christmas Décor and Gift Ideas

The well-established art scene in town makes shopping for unique gifts in local shops and artists’ studios an enchanting experience. The inspiration for art and craft in this area is frequently drawn from the surrounding beauty. Find a perfect creation, an art masterpiece, or a simple treasure as a tribute to, or memento of, the happy holidays in ‘the range of light.’

In addition to the Street of Lights night, arts and crafts are regularly on show and available for sale in the coffee shops, bookstores, sporting goods stores, and galleries along Main Street. Read about the many art establishments and cultural activities in and around Bishop in a previous blog “London. Paris. New York. Bishop.” and another “Made in Bishop” that showcases more arts and artists of our area.

Insider Tip: Bishop is a treasure trove of murals. Stop in at the Bishop Visitor Center for a map guide (or download it here) for a self-guided walking tour of the marvelous murals that are surprise gifts of our charming town.

Beer line up at Mountain Rambler Brewery

Eat. Drink. Be Merry.

Christmas is merriest with family, friends, food, and the occasional spirits of Christmases past and present. Drink responsibly and ensure that the spirit of your Christmas future is a safe and happy one.

Bishop boasts a heavenly selection of fine food and drink. Take a look at this previous blog post, “A world of good food in the Eastern Sierra” for inspiration on your holiday celebration. The holidays also serve up a delicious helping of entertainment, such as live music, karaoke, choirs, and open mic nights, which are presented at venues throughout the town.

Insider Tip: The Cardinal Village Christmas Festival, from November 22 – December 8, is the merriest, frostiest, sweetest, snowiest place for a mountain of Christmas fun. Find out more here.

Happy Holidays in the Range of Light

Don’t settle for a small town lurking in a big city. Come experience a real small town set in the wide-open spaces of a quintessential American landscape – especially one in the inimitable Range of Light.

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4 days ago

We are buried in smoke again today, so we thought it would be fun to share a little about how the names of some of the towns in the Eastern Sierra came about. Thank you, California High Sierra for the article!
californiahighsierra.com/trips/california-high-sierra-towns-the-origin-of-their-names/
Photo by Amy Leist
... See MoreSee Less

We are buried in smoke again today, so we thought it would be fun to share a little about how the names of some of the towns in the Eastern Sierra came about. Thank you, California High Sierra for the article!
https://californiahighsierra.com/trips/california-high-sierra-towns-the-origin-of-their-names/
Photo by Amy Leist

Comment on Facebook

Wow... been a good long while since I’ve been to Bishop. Their high school team was in our league (I went to Tehachapi High) and we traveled there for some football games — something like a 5-6 hour drive each way if I recall correctly. A tough team to beat also. I’m betting it hasn’t changed all that much over all these years (circa late ‘60s).

I'm so sorry the smoke is bad there still. I missed my annual visit this year. It's on my to do list for next year.

We can see it over the Spring Mountains to the West/NW here in Las Vegas. Fortunately, not much of it made it into the LV valley.

Would LOVE to move there if my hubby can find a job nearby!

We left this morning. Not only is it very smokey the smell of smoke is incredible. I don't smoke and I was ready to light up.

Nice photo. That's the real West.

Miss Bishop, Lone Pine, Big Pine, Tinnamaha campground!!!!

No, that is where the theater and Joseph’s used to be. Joseph’s has been gone for some time now. Penny’s is now Dollar General. Unfortunately a lot of vacant stores. Hi Kent!❤️

Hello and good morning. I am planning to drive up to Bishop from Southern California. The main purpose is to see fall colors. May I know if the fall colors are still at peak this coming next two weeks or is it past peak? Thank you for your advice/suggestions.

We were just there.😔

We have to leave too, I almost threw up it was so bad, got to Lee Vining and blue fresh air..take care of yourselves

so sorry for the smoke crazy time for all this year.

I spent a week here and didn't get to see the beauty through the smoke 😏

When was this picture taken, Sunday at 6 am ? never seen it this quiet.

Awesome pic! I wish a Main Street business had a rooftop deck so you can eat with that exact same view!

No smoke in the photo. ??

Is this an old photo? Joseph’s market was the only market back when we lived in Bishop in 1969.

It’s still Smokey? Where is the smoke coming from ?

Beautiful town

I always love to go threw Bishop.

Went thru Bishop yesterday, it was terribly Smokey 😪💚

I wish it was still small !

Does bishop still have a jack in the box

My favorite place ❤️

Isnt that the Old JC Penney store?

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1 week ago

Wonder if this little sheep was as grateful as we were for a view of the mountains this morning??!! Happy Friday! From Bishop, with love ❤️
#keepbishopsafe #mttom
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Wonder if this little sheep was as grateful as we were for a view of the mountains this morning??!! Happy Friday! From Bishop, with love ❤️
#keepbishopsafe #mttom

Comment on Facebook

Wonderful vacation destination

And a free thinker! This is Good!

🙏praying that it stays like this 💖

I miss Bishop so much and living there too 😢😉❤️

This is one of my favorite places to take pictures when I lived in Bishop. There’s many more.

Sigh. Bishop. Love it.

See you next week little sheep

We loved our visit to Bishop

Miss bishop fun times there

Nice!!!

Oh how I love that view

It was beautiful

Love Bishop

👍

Need snow on them things!

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1 week ago

In case you are wondering what roads and campgrounds are open, here is the latest, as of yesterday, October 14th:
www.sierrawave.net/state-of-inyo-roads-and-campgrounds-whats-open-closed-oct-14
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In case you are wondering what roads and campgrounds are open, here is the latest, as of yesterday, October 14th:
https://www.sierrawave.net/state-of-inyo-roads-and-campgrounds-whats-open-closed-oct-14

Comment on Facebook

I've been on that same road every year at this time...

It sure was smoky today.

Still hazy there.😥

I love the West.

Beautiful picture thanks for sharing 🙂🙂❤❤

We always used to stay at Brown’s Millpond Campground just north of Bishop. Very nice private campground with a stream running through it. So many wonderful memories from Mule Days!

Up her for 4 day little smoke but really nice trees turning colors

It's the hunting and fishing Road 🏞️🎣🏕️🌌🤠🥰

Love Bishop and the surrounding mountains !!!

Hwy 168 going to Lake Sabrina, North and South lakes?

With I was there.

maybe next weekend any hotel suggestions?

Johanna Atwell

GOD HOW I WISH I WAS ON THAT ROAD... CAREFREE HIWAY...

Lots of nice smoke.....

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1 week ago

The Eastern Sierra Cancer Alliance is hosting a virtual 5K walk and fun run this year!!! Going on NOW!! You can do it from WHEREVER you are!!!Hello Friends!☺️
💥 ESCA 20th Annual 5K Walk & Fun Run! 💥October 11-17th! Virtual Edition!
Please LIKE and SHARE this flyer with your friends and family!
Thank you for your continued support! ☺️
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The Eastern Sierra Cancer Alliance is hosting a virtual 5K walk and fun run this year!!! Going on NOW!! You can do it from WHEREVER you are!!!

1 week ago

Dog days of summer or fall??!!
Last weekend we had warm temps and blue skies again. Fingers crossed we get some more blue skies this weekend!

Photo by Amanda Zhang
#NorthLake #fallcolors #keepbishopsafe
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Dog days of summer or fall??!! 
Last weekend we had warm temps and blue skies again. Fingers crossed we get some more blue skies this weekend!

Photo by Amanda Zhang
#NorthLake #fallcolors #keepbishopsafe

Comment on Facebook

I heard the colors have peaked in this area. Is it still worth visiting or are there other good spots to hit up?

Beautiful picture.

Wonderful vacation destination

Beautiful

Beautiful picture! Cute dog!

North Lake?

Looking good

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